Gov't gives go ahead to increase solar energy production

Minister Landau: We will continue promoting the massive installation of advanced solar power installations for private consumption.

The go ahead to build large solar power ground-based installations, 100 additional megawatts for roof-top solar power systems, and generous quotas for biomass and wind systems - are the main principles that were agreed upon yesterday in the final meeting of representatives of the National Infrastructure, Finance, and Environmental Protection Ministries and the National Economics Council.

The agreement, that was reached after months of dispute, will enable the Cabinet at its next session on Sunday to approve the continuation of policies to encourage production of electricity from renewable energy. The policy is based on quotas that will be submitted by 2014, which is the goal for ending the first stage of the encouragement plan. The second stage will last until 2020, but the method used for encouragement during this period will be set in the future through a bill that the Ministry of Infrastructure will submit for approval by January 2014. This agreement was made possible by Minister of National Infrastructure Uzi Landau, who agreed to compromise on his demand to allocate immediate quotas for roof-top solar power systems.

Landau said, "This decision is not perfect, but it is the best that we could have reached. We will continue to promote, in every way possible, the massive installation of advanced solar power installations for private consumption, using the maximum integration of Israeli technology, and at the most cost-effective prices for the Israeli consumer. When I began this post, I announced that the dream of red roofs would turn into the dream of green roofs. I will make every effort to realize this dream.

The proposal to be submitted for Cabinet approval states that the government is committed to the two targets set in 2009: 10% of Israel's electricity production will come from renewable sources (2,760 megawatts) by 2020 and 5% (1,550 megawatts) by 2014. The agreement states that the total amount of funds allocated by 2014 will not be more than 1,430 megawatts for all size solar power systems, 830 megawatts for wind-powered installations, and at least 210 megawatts for biogas, biomass and waste-based installations.

In addition, the agreement includes the following principles: immediate release of quotas that were frozen six months ago for 460 megawatts for large ground-based solar power installations. This is less than the original 500 megawatts that was agreed upon, but with no change in tariffs.

Additional quotas have been agreed upon for small solar power roof-top systems (output of up to 50 megawatts) for a total volume of 110 megawatts to be spread over four years: 20 megawatts this year, and 30 megawatts each additional year until 2014. The installation companies originally requested funds for 100 megawatts by 2012. The Finance Ministry rejected this request on the grounds that it would encourage further requests for quotas by the companies in 2013 and 2014.

Quotas were also approved for the following installations: biogas (160 megawatts), biogas, biomass and waste (50 megawatts), all size wind (800 megawatts), and pioneering installations using innovative technology (50 megawatts) to be spread out from 2012 through 2015.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 14, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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